Theatre producer Gary Gunas, most recently represented on Broadway with the 2000 Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical Seussical, passed away February 22 at his home in London. He was 73.
Born in Manchester, Connecticut, May 26, 1947, Mr. Gunas began his career Off-Broadway in 1969 as an apprentice company manager for the musical Promenade. In the '70s he became company manager, associate general manager, and eventually general manager at Marvin A. Krauss Associates, where he worked on Broadway shows and tours, including Godspell, American Buffalo, Beatlemania, Dancin’, Woman of the Year, Dreamgirls, and La Cage aux Folles as well as revivals of Gypsy (starring Angela Lansbury), Richard III (starring Al Pacino), and Death of a Salesman (starring Dustin Hoffman).
Mr. Gunas also general managed Broadway performances by a host of artists that included Peter Allen, Ashford & Simpson, Charles Aznavour, Josephine Baker, Count Basie, Shirley Bassey, George Benson, Rodney Dangerfield, Ella Fitzgerald, Patti LaBelle, Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Mort Sahl, Frank Sinatra, and Lily Tomlin.
In 1985 Mr. Gunas began producing with Miles Wilkin and Scott Zeiger at Pace Theatrical Group, partnering on dozens of touring productions, including Singin’ in the Rain, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tommy, Jekyll & Hyde, Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees, Big, Sunset Boulevard, Ragtime, and Cabaret.
From 1993 to 2001, he executive-produced several Broadway musicals, including The Who’s Tommy, Jekyll & Hyde, Ragtime, The Civil War, and the aforementioned Seussical. Mr. Gunas subsequently relocated to London in 2002 and worked for Clear Channel’s U.K. office. His final producing credits before retiring in 2005 included the world tour of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, U.S. tours of Cats and Starlight Express, and a European tour of Fosse.
Mr. Gunas and his husband, playwright and record producer Bill Rosenfield, were also featured in the Playbill video series Old Show Queens. A couple for over 40 years, the two had not only front-row seats for some of the biggest hits of the second half of the 20th century, but also an insider’s view of what was going on backstage. In the multi-part series, they shared their memories of the end of the Golden Age of Broadway from their home in London with interviewers Andrew Hawkins and Tony winner Jeff Marx.
In addition to his husband, Mr. Gunas is survived by two brothers. No memorial service will be held. Contributions in his name may be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.